Exclusive: Batting is my plus point, says Rahul Tewatia ahead of England series
It's his aggressive left-handed batting that makes Tewatia the ideal T20 player
When Yuzvendra Chahal rang Rahul Tewatia up to break the news of the latter’s India selection for the England T20 series, the all-rounder wondered if his friend was playing a prank on him.
“I could not believe it when Chahal called me. Then he came to my room and showed me the team list, and when I saw my name, I was filled with such happiness that I would never really find words to describe how I felt,” Tewatia told Khaleej Times over phone from India.
Tewatia, Chahal’s Haryana teammate who rose to fame with his tight leg-spin and hard-hitting batting heroics for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year, knows that it’s one thing to earn his first India call-up and quite another to break into the playing eleven.
India’s embarrassment of riches in terms of talents across formats has made the rest of the cricketing world green with envy.
Naturally, Tewatia is likely to face a massive challenge to make his international debut against England in the five-match T20 series that begins on Friday.
But the 27-year-old all-rounder loves such competitions.
After all, here’s a man who had to fight hard to even get into the Haryana team in Indian domestic cricket.
“In our Haryana team, we have quality spinners like Amit Mishra, Chahal and Jayant (Yadav). All three of them have played for India. Obviously the competition was very tough,” Tewatia said.
“But our coach trusted my skills and gave me opportunities. I grabbed that chance with both hands. You know it’s a great feeling. When the competition is tough, you enjoy your cricket eve more.”
Despite his consistent performances for Haryana, Tewatia acknowledged that without his IPL display last year, he would have not have been able to share the Indian dressing room with icons like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
“Obviously if you perform in the IPL, which is a very big stage, everybody notices you because there are quality international players in the tournament. The world’s best players play in the IPL. So people noticed me after I played well last season,” said Tewatia who scored 255 runs and took 10 wickets with his leg-spin in the 2020 IPL.
“I was playing well in domestic white-ball cricket, but when I made an impact with the bat and also helped Rajasthan Royals win matches with my bowling at the IPL last year, that made a big difference.”
And it’s his aggressive left-handed batting that makes Tewatia, who famously hit five sixes in an over against Kings XI Punjab bowler Sheldon Cottrell last year, the ideal T20 player.
“I always loved batting even though I was a leg-spinner from the start of my career. But I really enjoyed my batting. Then when I got into the Haryana team which had so many quality spinners, my batting became my plus point,” he said.
“So I worked really hard on my batting. I felt that my batting will help me climb up the ladder. That’s why I really worked hard on my batting.”
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